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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

jittles My Monkey Wrench (674 comments)

I've got this giant pipe wrench that's been taking a beating (well... giving one) for decades. I can't tell you how many passwords and pin codes I've cracked with that thing. Best hacking tool I ever bought.

2 days ago

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

jittles Re:Militia, then vs now (1583 comments)

At the time there were limited arms (you took about 2 minutes to reload) vs able to empty a couple clips in that same amount of time, now.

First of all, the red coats could fire their weapon at a rate of about 3-4 rounds per minute. Second of all, it's not difficult to empty a clip at all. A stripper clip is designed to empty very quickly. The real rate of fire is how quickly you can empty a magazine. That is the rate of fire for a weapon, and not a tool used to reload the magazine itself (a clip). And anyway, it was perfectly legal to own swords and other weapons back then. I'm not saying that we should allow people to own anything they want. I am just saying you don't have a very good understanding of these weapons.

3 days ago

Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

jittles Re:IRL! (303 comments)

A few years ago we had some Chinese exchange workers come and work for us. At the end of their stint, they did a bit of a presentation about similar work in China. They did a bit of background on China, and were still calling Taiwan part of China! I was a bit flabbergasted...

Different perspectives or propaganda I guess. Eye opener either way.

Did you know that Taiwan also calls itself China? There is the PRC (the mainland side) and ROC (Taiwan side). The first is the Peoples Republic of China, and the second is the Republic of China. They both consider the other to be part of their territory and are waiting for the other side to give in to their leadership.

5 days ago

Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

jittles Re:It's OK for Apple but not Microsoft? (574 comments)

Never mind the huge difference between an OS for a disposable device, and an OS for computers that is expected to last for a decade or more

Since when were computers ever supposed to last a decade? In the United States, the IRS (tax agency) allows you to deduct computer costs in the year they are purchased. For a durable good the IRS forces you to amortize the cost of a business expense over the life expectancy of the item. So that tells you that even the federal government doesn't expect your computer to be worth keeping long term. I might keep a computer for 5-6 years for browsing the internet and checking my email (perhaps even longer) but 3-4 years for a work computer is very long indeed! I'll be keeping my cellphone for 4-5 years if the battery life is acceptable.

5 days ago

NYC Considers Google Glass For Restaurant Inspections

jittles Re:won't stop fraud_just use regular video cam (104 comments)

google glass won't keep...um...people from bribing each other...they can just exchange the money at another time

There's two parts to a bribe- transferring the money (which you addressed), and actually doing what you're being bribed to do. If the inspection is recorded, the inspector can't ignore problems that he sees. I suppose he could deliberately not look in places he knows there are problems, but then the (recorded) inspection would be incomplete.

No he can't hide violations as easily. Instead, he'll notify the owner and the "random inspection" will not be so random or unexpected anymore. You're not likely to fail a health inspection if you know they're coming!

about two weeks ago

Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

jittles Re:Equality? How about sports? (673 comments)

In school sports the boy's sports programs are granted a lot more money, even with Title 9. Do you think Ole Miss or Ohio State are as generous as the girls programs (including admissions) as they are with boys football? If benefactors want to pay girls more to learn programming then it is wonderful?

I believe you are mistaken, to be quite honest. The university I went to bent over backwards to comply with Title 9. They cut every men's sport that was not profitable (down to football, basketball, and wrestling). They also had to recruit female athletes from out of state/country in order to match scholarship funding. They put out adverts in the school paper indicating scholarships were available for walk-on female athletes. They had a women's equestrian team (which is very expensive) specifically so they could balance out football spending. It was almost impossible to be a male athlete at my school unless you were a superstar. You could walk on to the women's soccer team and get a sport's scholarship. Does that seem very fair to the men?

about two weeks ago

Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

jittles Re:It's not trending. (371 comments)

This wouldn't even be an issue if the damn local news didn't report on it. 3 cars?! A night of drunken stupidity. Now it's going to be trending.

Eh when I was a wee lad we used to do the same thing with the Honda N600. Boys will be boys. The tricky part is sneaking out into the pasture without getting any dung on your shoes. And heaven help you if you tip the thing onto you!

about two weeks ago

Dyn.com Ends Free Dynamic DNS

jittles Re:Alternatives (240 comments)

A quick search reveals http://www.noip.com/, and I'm sure they'll be more. Anyway isn't this supposed to be a stopgap before IPV6 means we can all have permanent static IPS?!

I've been using ZoneEdit for a long time. They've changed their business model slightly. Don't know if they still offer as many free options any more, but they have been great for me for over 10 years now!

about two weeks ago

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

jittles Re:systemd Architecture (641 comments)

It is obvious from the internals of systemd that it's designed and written by B grade talent.

I represent that!!

about two weeks ago

NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

jittles Re:Ethical is irrelevant. (402 comments)

Yes, yes, just as Neil Armstrong and Harrison Schmidt returned to Earth. But with any luck, there are people who are alive today who will help to settle the Moon - and die there of old age. Humanity must either continue out to the other planets, and to the planets of other stars, or our race will die here in the cradle of Earth the next time a BIG rock hits the Earth, we will become extinct. I'm a big believer in humanity not becoming extinct.

The ultimate "space exploration is immoral" argument boils down to one of two things. Either you're a coward, and think all humans should be cowards, or you hate humanity and APPROVE of the idea of human extinction. Because if we sit here long enough, it WILL happen. It's a statistical certainty.

The less-sane of the commenters here seem to think that we're about to blast off for Mars tomorrow. It's not going to happen; we don't have any rockets. We can't even send more Americans to the International Space Station, now that NASA has decided to cut off cooperation with the Russians. But by the time we _can_ go to Mars, we'll be ready to live there - for a long time. Will it be ten years? Thirty? Fifty? Hell, I'm astonished that we haven't even been back to the Moon in the last 40 years. We could be on Mars NOW, if we had wanted to, in 1980.

So, let's start NOW. It won't be easy, it won't be cheap, and it won't be entirely safe - but nothing worthwhile ever is. People died learning about electricity. Marie Curie died learning about radium. People died learning how to fly, and people died learning how to dive, and people die every day in learning how to drive. People will die learning how to build lunar habitats, and learning how to land on Mars, and how to build homes there. And a lot more people WON'T die, and we'll learn what we need to know to settle Mars, and to build starships.

And just as it has always done, the knowledge that we gain in doing these things and going those places will make life easier and safer for you cowards who stay behind.

I'm not saying that we should not be preparing such a mission. I am just saying that we should not send anyone on a one-way trip without careful consideration. Human beings are very fickle. Someone who wants that one way trip now may change their mind in two weeks. Besides, there may be resources on Mars that we want to bring back to Earth anyway, so it will become more economically feasible if we can send raw materials back to the Earth.

about two weeks ago

European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

jittles Re:Cynicism (148 comments)

My mobile provider (3, in the UK) has started rolling out a thing that lets you use your inclusive minutes and data allowance in other countries without any extra charge (the costs if you go over those limits are pretty dire). It was actually cheaper for me to use data on my mobile when I visit the US than it was for the people I was visiting, on my last trip. I think they've seen the writing on the wall and started making these agreements long before they were needed. They're able to do this and charge 3p/minute for calls, 2p/text and 1p/MB for data (pre-pay - if you get a bundle and buy in bulk then things are cheaper, but the bundles are time limited).

Just got back from a trip out of the US. With T-mobile I had free text and data in three different countries but the cost for a voice call was $0.20 a minute. Of course, with free data, I could use my voip service to make calls at $0.01 per minute.

about two weeks ago

NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

jittles Re:Ethical is irrelevant. (402 comments)

By your standard, the Plymouth and Jamestown colonies were "suicide missions"; the people who boarded the Mayflower never expected to come back.

The first people that went to the new world did come back, though. Christopher Columbus didn't just hang out in Hispanola for the rest of his life. The people who went to Jamestown and Plymouth had the capability of coming back if those so chose. In fact, some early colonists did just that. There is a huge difference.

about two weeks ago

Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

jittles Re:nope! (496 comments)

I'd be happy just to get a good rearview camera on my motorbike. All I get to see in the mirrors are my elbows...

And that, my friend, is why I ride my motorcycle in rain, snow. sleet and hail. God I have sexy elbows...

about two weeks ago

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

jittles Re:They don't do anything important (180 comments)

What sort of severance package do I get?

More fired. This isn't wall street!

Your benefits package sucks. I quit.

about three weeks ago

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

jittles Re:They don't do anything important (180 comments)

The reason they don't take off is because they are niche.

My proof-reader is fired.

What sort of severance package do I get?

about three weeks ago

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

jittles Re:Don't wear a watch either. (180 comments)

In other news I stopped wearing a watch back in the eighties when my beeper stated telling the time. My iPhone 5s has a motion sensor so no need to wear anything for use with FitBit and fits nicely in my pocket. Plus I use an iPhone wallet case so often I don't even carry a purse when shopping. Last time I want is even more crap to carry.

I love a good watch. They are stylish and much more convenient to use rather than having to reach into my pocket to check the time. This is especially true when I am trying to be discreet during a meeting, date, or while listening to a coworker's inane babbling. There are times when I cannot wear a watch, though, and I am happy that I have my phone as a fallback.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

jittles Re:Don't expect it to be Cable (219 comments)

The holy grail for FTA is finding "wild feeds" - temporary uplinks from site to a network (think breaking news). You can find some serious hilarity here sometimes. But the feeds come and go in a matter of quarter hours, so they're tougher to find.

I watched the Columbine shooting news coverage live on one of these wild feeds. They showed things that did not air on TV (victims trying to escape and leaving blood trails, etc). Not exactly what I wanted to see, but the ability to watch these things was interesting. The news anchor bloopers and such can be interesting too. I've caught a rare sports feed (15+ years ago) and its always interesting to see what the camera men are up to when the commercials are airing. Overall, though, I agree that it is too much work to actually use this to watch TV. It's not like the golden days when you could watch network shows the night before they aired for the rest of the country.

about three weeks ago

Western Digital 'MyCloud' Is Down 5 Days and Counting

jittles Re:DynDNS and a real NAS (127 comments)

I've got one, I've got a 2TB collection of data that I regularly syphon files from when I am traveling. It is easy and works great, I don't need to leave a PC running (draining my wallet through the power company) to access all the data since it is a low-power device. It is as fast as my internet speed and costs nothing for the service.

I built a fanless Core i3 Ivy Bridge machine that, according to my Kill-A-Watt, uses about 10W unless its really cranking out some computations for me. It runs an L2TP over IPSec VPN server that allows me to remotely connect to my machine from any device, including my iPad or phone. I have a virtual machine that runs a linux file server on it, and one that runs a windows host for RDP. I was originally running all of this on one of the original Atom boards but I found myself in need of upgrading.

The overall cost of building the computer from scratch was around $400 (Motherboard, CPU, RAM). I repurposed an existing SSD for its boot drive (Intel drive that uses 0.125W), and then a 1TB mechanical drive for storage. My off-the-top-of-my-head calculations put my electricity cost at about $11 a year.

I use ZoneEdit for DNS services and my router automatically updates the IP address the moment that it changes. My ISP changes my IP address about once or twice a year. I spend about 2 hours a year on security updates and other system maintenance.

Why did I set up a system like this with RDP capabilities? I used to spend a lot of time in hotels and I do not trust hotel WiFi. I'd also travel internationally and could not always access the services I wanted to access remotely. I sometimes used the VPN connection to buy products at a better fair (did you know that British Rail gives you a better price on train tickets if you purchase from the US instead of the UK?). Most of all, I have a secure network with which I can do all of my online banking, emailing, and bill-paying while on the road. I maintain a similar box at my parents that I use to remotely administer and repair their computers from across the world (assuming they can boot them). Totally worth it to have a real machine, IMHO.

about three weeks ago

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

jittles Re:Yeah right. (518 comments)

This is legit. Regular news sources picked this up yesterday. Sadly, I've seen people who over rely on these cameras almost hit people by not checking the sides of their car!

about three weeks ago

MtGox Finds 200,000 Bitcoins In Old Wallet

jittles Reminds me of the time... (227 comments)

Oh I know how that is. The other day I put on one of my old winter coats from years ago and found 500,000 bitcoins in the pocket. It was completely unexpected. I used it to buy a pizza.

about a month ago


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